A half-day trip to Mingun is a definite must do when you visit Mandalay in Myanmar (Burma).
Just across the Irrawaddy River (Ayeyarwady River) from Mandalay the little township of Mingun has several spectacular sights. The two most famous are the Mingun Pahtodawgyi, claiming the title of the world largest pile of bricks, and the Mingun Bell which held the record as the largest functioning bell in the world until 2000.
From Mandalay it is a sedate ferry ride up the Ayeyarwady River to Mingun. Cost is 5,000K for a return ticket. The ferry leaves Mandalay at 9.00am and gets to Mingun around 10.00am. You have 2.5 – 3 hours to look around Mingun before the return ferry leaves around 12.30 – 1.00pm and arrives back in Mandalay 40 minutes later.
Tickets can be purchased on the day you want to go. Bring your passport (or remember your passport number) for the passenger record paperwork at the ticket office. Ferry and ticket office are together at the Myan Gyan Jetty at the end of 26th Street. It is recommended to get to the ticket office at least 30 minutes before departure as you have to get in line to purchase your ticket and the ticketing process involves a lot of writing on the ticket officer’s part before you get your ticket.
After disenbarking from your ferry at Mingun you will find a small number of local taxis waiting to drive you around the sites. You can negotiate a low cost ride or enjoy the walk, up to you. You have to purchase an Archelogical Ticket 5,000K at the little ticket kiosk before you can explore Mingun. The 10,000k Archelogical Zone Ticket you buy in Mandalay does not cover Mingun.
From there head North up the street, a small gentle rise, up to the white building on the right that is Sat Taw Yar Pagoda which goes back from the main street down to the Ayeyarwady River.
About 100m further up the street from there on your right are the Giant Lions with a small food and souvenier market beside them.
Straight across the road from the lions is the huge Mingun Pahtodawgyi. The building of the Mingun Pahtodawgyi was started in 1790 and stopped in 1819 with the death of the King who was building it. By that time it was 50m tall. Had it been completed it would still hold the record as the tallest temple in the world at around 150m (500 feet).
Just north from there are food and handicraft shops and on you left is Mingun Sayadaw Pagoda, a small lovely memorial pagoda.
From there continue North to get to the Mingun Bell about 100m up the street on your left. The Mingun Bell was made in 1808 and until 2000 it was the largest functioning bell in the world.
From the Mingun Bell continue about 150m further up the street and turn into a side street to enter the Southern entrance and explore the beautiful white massive temple that is Hsinbyume Pagoda (also called Myatheindan Pagoda). Alternately instead of turning left continue straight ahead a further 50m up the road and enter the main Eastern entrance.
From there wander back past monasteries, the aged care facility and smaller pagodas towards the beach and ferry landing area for the return trip to Mandalay.
There are plenty of small shops and little local restaurants to stop for a rest along the way.
Make sure when you visit Mandalay that you go and see Mingun, a great way to fill in half a day with some awesome sights.
Credit – www.svietnamtravel.com/myanmar/destinations